Green Bay mayor criticizes President Trump over meatpacking response

Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich (Source: City of Green Bay)
Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich (Source: City of Green Bay)(NBC15)
Published: May. 2, 2020 at 11:44 AM CDT
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The mayor of Green Bay is blasting President Trump after signing an executive order that the mayor says gives meatpackers "legal carte blanche" amid the pandemic.

“He's turning his back on reality and he's turning his back on the workers who live this reality every single day,” Mayor Eric Genrich said of the president during a virtual press conference Friday, WLUK

The president

under the Defense Production Act to compel meatpackers to stay open, as some companies limit operations or in some cases consider completely shutting down.

By signing the order, Trump declared these plants part of critical infrastructure in the US. His administration says meatpackers must stay open in order to ensure groceries stay stocked with enough food.

But the mayor of Green bay says that forcing the meatpacking plants to stay open endangers workers and may help spread the virus in Wisconsin.

“In my opinion what this President has done, giving meat packing conglomerates legal carte blanche in the middle of a pandemic is reprehensible and indefensible,” said Genrich.

“It's reckless and it's dangerous and it speaks to this President's complete and total inability to relate to or care about regular people here in Green Bay," he says.

About 500 workers are confirmed to have COVID-19 after an outbreak at the

in the Green Bay area. That plant has since shut down because of the outbreak.

“JBS has shut down at least the last time I checked,” said Gallagher. “There are other plants like American Foods Group that I think can continue to operate safely. We absolutely should continue to monitor the situation. I'm glad the CDC has come to evaluate the situation.”

According to JBS, the Green Bay facility employs more than 1,200 people feeds nearly 3.2 million Americans every day.

Genrich, a Democrat, was elected mayor of Green Bay in 2019. He previously served as a representative in Wisconsin's State Assembly from 2013-2019.